Kaine Blows It At Vice Presidential Debate
At Tuesday’s night’s Vice-Presidential debate, moderator Elaine Quijano began with a question clarifying the importance of the event:
“I’d like to start with the topic of presidential leadership,” Quijano said. “Twenty-eight years ago tomorrow night, Lloyd Bentsen said the vice presidential debate was not about the qualifications for the vice presidency, but about how if tragedy should occur, the vice president has to step in without any margin for error, without time for preparation, to take over the responsibility for the biggest job in the world.
“What about your qualities, your skills, and your temperament equip you to step into that role at a moment’s notice?” she asked.
That question set the tone for the evening – 90 minutes of debate that proved one thing beyond a shadow of a doubt: Tim Kaine does not have what it takes to lead this country.
With many Americans harboring grave doubts about both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Tuesday night was an opportunity for Kaine and Mike Pence to show voters another side to their respective nominees. Pence rose to the challenge without breaking a sweat; Kaine spent the entire evening reciting rehearsed attack lines, desperately trying to get viewers to despise Donald Trump. In doing so, he squandered the only chance he’ll have to sway independents and moderate Democrats who are looking for any good reason to vote for Hillary.
That’s not to say that Kaine arrived at the debate unprepared. Quite the opposite. He clearly came in with a plan. Unfortunately, that plan had nothing to do with making America comfortable with the thought of Hillary Clinton being president, and it certainly had nothing to do with making us comfortable with the idea of President Tim Kaine. It was almost solely centered around mocking Trump and interrupting Pence. According to FiveThirtyEight, he executed that plan to perfection, interrupting Pence and Quijano more than 70 times throughout the debate.
At the end of the day, few undecided voters will make their final decision based on the Vice Presidential debate. Even so, this race is tight enough and unpredictable enough that every little bit helps. Looking at it that way, Tuesday night was a terrific moment for the Trump/Pence campaign and a sour note for Clinton/Kaine. After a week of bad headlines for Trump, the Clinton camp is now once again on the defensive.